Gasoline


If I had any courage at all
Any actual strength of conviction
I’d grab the can of gasoline I have in my garage
Drive myself to the square in front
Of old state Capitol
Douse myself down and light my last cigarette.

I could become a symbol
For anyone, burning there in silence
As my flesh sizzles and drips
Maybe someone will take a picture
Or news crews will put me on at eleven
Swathed in greasy black smoke.

My pain could be everyone’s
A universal sacrificial pyre
The roaring flames one hungry voice
I’d do my best to be stoic
I could become a bright banner
For all the angry, the bitter, the hurt.

I’d leave no note or explanation
So in obscure ambiguity
My death could come to mean anything
One act so that there never need be another
I’d breathe in the flame
Hold all of the pain in my crumbling lungs.

I know it wouldn’t be any of those things
It would just be another awful death
Among thousands, consumed and forgotten
But if I had one wish
It would be that my death could mean something
Be worth more than my living ever could.

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